Sarah Prineas,
(Harper, 2012)

Fer has grown up surrounded by the magic of a home filled with herbs, honey and healing, but she doesn't quite seem to fit. Then she rescues a boy with yellow eyes from a land filled with the magic of nature, wildness and secrets. Suddenly, Fer has reason to believe she can belong somewhere. Maybe she can learn more about who she is and what happened to her parents in the other land, a place where magic rules and all oaths bind. The Way is open.

Sarah Prineas's writing envelopes you, enfolding into this world where familiar stories draw close and breathe warm. The magical world of Winterling doesn't need to pull you anywhere, it visits your home with a smile and warm pastry. Fer, the young girl out discovering, leads the story in a gentle, natural way. It's wonderfully easy to absorb her reactions and relax into her thoughts because they aren't just a heroine's thoughts, but the organic musings of a misfit girl.

Moreover, the book does not devolve into a battle between the good and bad sides of its heroine; Fer's character grows, but is always whole and open to the reader. This harmony between the adventure and its discoverer makes Winterling an easy, comforting read. Prineas balances the pace by adding sections from yellow-eyed Rook's rough point-of-view. This sinks the reader more firmly into the world and builds suspense, ensuring that this is a cup of tea that keeps you awake and eager, rather than lulling into sleep.

Winterling is a scrumptious snack of fairytale images, an independent heroine, and crystal-bright writing. It's a perfect tale for reading at the ending of winter and the coming of spring.

[ visit the author's website ]

book review by
Whitney Mallenby

12 October 2013

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